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A Fierce Green Fire

A new documentary by Mark Kitchell tracks the history of environmental activism

Feb 7, 2012
Outside Magazine

Pick an environmental documentary at random and chances are it tackles some hot-button issue. A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for A Living Planet is a gentler breed of environmental doc, in which director Mark Kitchell plays earnest chronicler of a movement that we’ve all come to take for granted.

Kitchell tracks the history of environmental activism by spotlighting five milestones: 1) the Sierra Club’s crusade to keep the Grand Canyon free of dams, 2) the battle at Love Canal, where residents protested Hooker Chemical for dumping 20,000 tons of toxic waste in their backyard, 3) the creation of Greenpeace, 4) the rubber tappers’ fight to preserve the Amazon rain forest, and 5) Bill McKibben’s campaign for climate change education. The film is plodding at times, but what ultimately emerges is a retrospective of the movers and shakers who’ve paved the way for environmental activists of the future—and their collective conviction is inspiring.

The most illuminating insight arrives by way of Kitchell, who notes that the environmental renaissance began, in part, when humans observed the first images of Earth from space. That moment, Kitchell says, forever altered our perspectives of our role on the planet. It’s a stirring notion to keep in mind the next time you find yourself gazing at a photo of the big blue dot.

Filed To: Adventure, Film

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